We eventually got better at the art of tapas bar hopping in Spain. The key is to restrain oneself from ordering more than two tapas at any one place to leave room for anything that might turn up later. There were hits and misses in doing so. While several tapas bars were simply tourist traps serving bland, cold items, the general standard was quite high. The one that really stood out was the Casa Lola Barcelona Tapas Bar & Restaurant along Rambla Catalunya. A cheerful bar with friendly waiters who wear polka-dotted uniforms.
The restaurant is pleasantly outfitted. There are two floors. There is a small upper floor with a small balcony that overlooks the Rambla Catalunya, a wide avenue with shops and restaurants on both sides and alfresco seating for the restaurants in the middle.
The counter displayed some ready-made tapas as well as the fresh ingredients for preparing the hot items.
Here is a picture of the menu of Casa Lola Barcelona. The food items on display were all tempting but we limited ourselves to just two items – a fried small fish (6.95 euro) and prawns in garlic (7.8 euro).
These were the two seafood tapas we ordered. Very simple dishes that were outstanding because of the freshness of the ingredients used. They tried to explain the type of fish in Spanish. All I can gather is that it is not anchovy but something in the same family. More meaty and with no fishy taste. The garlic prawns were firm and clean tasting. Eaten with a glass of sangria and white wine, a perfect light meal to sustain us until the next pit stop!
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Casa Lola Barcelona
Rambla Catalunya, 70 Barcelona,
+34 934 67 23 69
Before we sign off our last post about our eating adventures in Spain, here are some stories for future reference.
Best hotel breakfast – The Hotel Principal Madrid serves the best (and most attractive hotel breakfast) we have had in a long time. Website.
Best unplanned restaurant – Most of the better dining experiences were at restaurants researched and planned in advance. The Allium Restaurant in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona was one which we ran into that served delicious paella and a special order mushroom dish.
Best Cocktails – Pura Vida is a tiny hole in the wall that serves the best cocktails that we had during the trip. Run by a young couple, it is a cozy place that has a even smaller kitchen that manages to crank out some decent food. It is in a small lane next to the Grand Central Hotel. www.puravidacocktailsbarcelona.com
Best Barcelona Restaurants that we never tried – These are the ones that we wanted to try but were unsuccessful.
Cal Pep – Seafood restaurant that is forever crowded and does not take reservations.
Restaurant Can Culleretes – said to be the oldest restaurant in Catalan (opened 1786). Must make reservations. Website.
Vinitus Tapas Bar & Restaurant – Looks hip and super popular, need to make reservation. Facebook.
Best freebie – Reserva Iberica is a store that sells a big range of Iberian ham. They were also generous in dishing out tasting samples. Website.
Train travel in Spain tips – Renfe AVE high speed trains are fast and convenient but have limited space for large luggage. Train tickets are available in 3 classes Turista, Turista Plus and Preference. Turista Plus is sometimes only a few euros more, but allows selection of seats. Bookings open a few months before travel date.